Rep. John Lewis leads sit-in at Capitol Hill over gun bill

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and other lawmakers are reacting to a sit-in led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis in an effort to force a vote on gun violence.

We've been following the sit-in since Channel 2 Action News at Noon when the Civil Rights leader and nearly 100 Democrats demanded the vote to expand background checks and block gun purchases by some suspected terrorists in the aftermath of last week's massacre in Orlando that killed 49 people.

Video tweeted shows Lewis beginning the sit-in.

Lewis sent Channel 2 Action News a statement regarding his sit in:

"Members of the House of Representatives led by Congressman John Lewis have begun a sit-in demonstration on the floor of the House of Representatives. The group of Democrats is demanding that Speaker Ryan keep the House in session through its planned recess to debate and vote on gun violence legislation. Specifically, the group is pushing for a vote on expanded background checks and legislation preventing gun sales to suspected terrorists.

In a letter to Speaker Ryan, the group outlined their objectives. The Speaker has called a recess to silence the voices of members…

            Dear Mr. Speaker:

As the worst mass shooting in our nation's history has underscored, our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralyzed by politics. We urge you to lead the House into action and work with both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense solutions to keep American children and families safe.

There is broad agreement among Americans – greater than 90 percent by some measures – that expanding background checks for firearms purchases is a reasonable measure for this Congress to pass. An overwhelming majority also agree that we should enact safety measures that keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.

The question before us is, what is this Congress waiting for?
Over the last 12 years, gun-related crimes claimed more American lives than AIDS, war, and illegal drug overdoses combined. Since Newtown, tens of thousands of lives have been lost to this deadly crisis. The number of bills that have been debated and passed by this Congress to prevent such deaths is zero.

Together we represent families who are worried and frustrated – millions of Americans who are fed up with the inaction in Congress. There is no doubt that our path to solutions will be arduous, but we have to agree that inaction can no longer be a choice that this Congress makes. We cannot enact solutions for families at home if the Speaker will not even allow a debate.

Therefore, we stand with thousands of brokenhearted families who have not been served by this Congress, and millions more who are counting on us to find the moral courage to do the right thing.

We stand together in our refusal to sit by while this Congress abdicates its fundamental responsibility 
to protect American families from harm. We urge you to keep the House in session until we have robust debate and votes on expanding background checks and banning the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists.

Until then, we are resolved and committed to speaking out for victims, survivors, and families at home who deserve a vote. We are prepared to continue standing on the House floor whenever the House is in session to assist you in bringing these bills to a vote.


[Members of Congress]"

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